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Bible Commentaries

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

2 Samuel 7

Verse 1

There is no indication how soon after the bringing up of the ark these things occurred, but it was probably at no long interval.

Verse 2

Nathan the prophet - Here first mentioned, but playing an important part afterward (e. g. 2 Samuel 12:1; 1Ki 1:10; 1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29). From the two last passages it appears that he wrote the history of David’s reign, and a part at least of Solomon’s. His distinctive title is the prophet, that of Gad the seer (compare 1 Samuel 9:9). He was probably nuch younger than David. In 2 Samuel 7:3, he spoke his own private opinion; in 2 Samuel 7:4, this was corrected by the word of the Lord.

Verse 6

Have walked - Implying the frequent moving of the tabernacle, in the times of the Judges, as opposed to a settled resting in one place. The word tent, refers especially to the outward covering of skins, etc.: the tabernacle denotes the framework of beards and bars. Observe the constant reference to the Exodus and to the details as given in the books of Moses.

Verse 7

The tribes of Israel - The duplicate passage reads judges (see margin and compare 2 Samuel 7:11). But a comparison with such passages as Psa 78:67-68; 1 Kings 8:16; and 1 Chronicles 28:4, favors the reading “tribes,” and the phrase is a condensed one, the meaning of which is, that whatever tribe had in times past supplied the ruler of Israel, whether Ephraim in the days of Joshua, or Benjamin in the time of Saul, or Judah in that of David, God had never required any of these tribes to build a house in one of their cities.

An house of cedar - See 1 Kings 7:2-3; 1Ki 10:17, 1 Kings 10:21; Jeremiah 22:14, Jeremiah 22:23. Beams of cedar marked a costly building. The cedar of Lebanon is a totally different tree from what we improperly call the red or Virginian cedar, which supplies the sweet-scented cedar wood, and is really a kind of juniper. The cedar of Lebanon is a close-grained, light-colored, yellowish wood, with darker knots and veins.

Verse 10

Moreover I will appoint ... - It should be: And I have appointed a place, etc., and have planted them, etc. This was already done by the consolidation of David’s kingdom. The contrast between this and 2 Samuel 7:11 is that of the troubled, unsettled times of the Judges and the frequent servitudes of Israel in those times, with the settled prosperity and independence of the kingdom of David and Solomon.

Verse 12

The prophet, having detailed God’s past mercies to David, now passes on to direct prophecy, and that one of the most important in the O d Testament.

I will set up the seed - In one sense this mannifestly refers to Solomon, David’s successor and the builder of the temple. But we have the direct authority of Peter Acts 2:30 for applying it to Christ the seed of David, and His eternal kingdom; and the title the Son of David given to the Messiah in the rabbinical writings, as well as its special application to Jesus in the New Testament, springs mainly from the acknowledged Messianic significance of this prophecy. (See also Isaiah 55:3; Acts 13:34.)

Verse 13

He shall build an house ... - For the fulfillment of this in the person of Solomon, see 1 Kings 8:16-20. For its application to Christ, see John 1:12; Eph 1:20-22; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:6; etc.; and Zechariah 6:12-13.

I will stablish the throne of his kingdom forever - The words forever, emphatically twice repeated in 2 Samuel 7:16, show very distinctly that this prophecy looks beyond the succession of the kings of Judah of the house of David, and embraces the throne of Christ according to the Angel’s interpretation given in Luke 1:31-33, where the reference to this passage cannot be mistaken. This is also brought out fully in Psalms 89:29, Psalms 89:36-37. See also Daniel 7:13-14; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jeremiah 33:14-21; Ezekiel 34:24; Zechariah 12:7-8; Hosea 3:5, etc.

Verse 14

I will be his father ... - In marginal reference the equivalent expressions are applied to David. In Hebrews 1:5, this text is applied to Christ. But in 1 Chronicles 17:13; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10; 1 Chronicles 28:6, it is expressly appropriated to Solomon.

With the rod of men ... - i. e. such a chastisement as men inflict upon their children, to correct and reclaim them, not to destroy them. The whole clause is omitted in 1 Chronicles 17:13.

Verse 15

My mercy shall not depart ... - Hence, Isaiah’s saying, the sure mercies of David Isaiah 55:3, i. e. unfailing, lasting mercies: mercies which are like streams of water that never dry up Isaiah 33:16; Jeremiah 15:18. This is explained in 2 Samuel 7:16, where the word established is the same word as is rendered sure in Isaiah.

Before thee - Before Me is probably the true reading in 2 Samuel 7:15-16 (if the rest of the text be sound), according to the analogy of Jeremiah 35:19; 1 Samuel 2:30, 1 Samuel 2:35; and many other places; whereas the idea contained in the reading, before thee, is unparalleled. But the reading in 1 Chronicles 17:13 is quite different: “As I took it from him that was before thee,” meaning Saul, which gives a very good sense, and suggests that the text here may have been corrupted.

Verse 18

Sat before the Lord - In the tent where the ark was. Standing or kneeling was the usual attitude of prayer (1Ki 8:22, 1 Kings 8:54-55; but compare Exodus 17:12). Modern commentators mostly take the word here in the sense of waiting, abiding, not sitting: but sat is the natural rendering. David sat down to meditate, and then rose up to pray.

Verse 19

Is this the manner of man - Compare 1 Chronicles 17:17. Our passage may be thus understood: But this is the law (or prerogative) of a great man to found dynasties which are to last into the far future. David expresses his astonishment that he, of such humble birth, and one so little in his own eyes, should not only be raised to the throne, but be assured of the perpetuity of the succession in his descendants, as if he were a man of high degree.

Verse 23

The nations and their gods - i e. the people and the idols of Canaan.

Verse 27

Therefore hath thy servant found in his heart ... - The promises of God are the true guide to the prayers of His people. We may dare to ask anything, how great soever it may be, which God has promised to give. In this and the two following verses David expresses the same wonder at the riches of God’s grace, and the same expectation founded on that grace, which Paul does. in such passages as Ephesians 1:5-7; Ephesians 2:7, etc. marginal references.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/2-samuel-7.html. 1870.